This review covers the meaning, reasons, mechanisms, types, and effectiveness of hurdles, cost implications, merits and the future of hurdle technology. Hurdle technology is a smart, effective, efficient and intelligent combination of preservation techniques to achieve microbial safety and stability of foods as well as to retain their organoleptic and nutritional quality, together with the economic viability of food products. Mechanisms of hurdle technology through which it destroys micro-organisms include homeostasis, metabolic exhaustion (auto-sterilization), stress reaction and multitarget preservation. The types of hurdles include physical, physico-chemical, microbial and emerging/novel hurdles and their combined application give rise to hurdle effects like microbial safety, nutritional and organoleptic quality retention of food. More importantly, the intelligent use and effective combination of some hurdles like pulsed electric field, thermal process/heat, ozone, pressure, UV-light, microwave, gamma irradiation and electrolyzed water is very important in achieving optimal results in terms of microbial inactivation, sensory and nutritional quality of food products. Hurdle technology offers better promise in inactivating target micro-organisms, food shelf life extension, quality retention and reduction of undesired effects than the conventional food preservation methods. The present contribution reviews recent researches on shelf life extension of foods using hurdle technology with special attention on the combined hurdles and microbial log reduction.